SO Modular has increased its production capacity by 700% following a significant six-figure investment in new machinery.
The machinery will be delivered and installed at the company’s new 350,000 sq. ft timber and modular manufacturing facility in Neath, South Wales.
The facility’s development began in April 2020 and is set for an official launch at the end of summer 2021.
Once completed, with all the new machinery installed and running, the site will immediately be able to expand from its current production capacity of 500 homes per year to 3,500 homes per year on a single shift.
The timber and modular manufacturing facility will also be a zero-carbon, sustainable site, which SO Modular says will create a number of skilled employment opportunities in the local area.
SO Modular has been able to fund the purchase its new machinery through an Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) loan with Tai Tarian – one of the largest social landlords in Wales.
SO Modular says the new machinery is “considerably” more efficient – both in terms of speed and energy usage – than that which is currently being used.
It is also set to produce less waste and will contribute toward a more sustainable manufacturing of low-carbon homes.
The new machinery includes a treatment tank, production lines, a biomass boiler, a Hundegger TURBO-Drive II Saw, a vertical saw, and a factory blow insulation machine.
SO Modular says the Hundegger TURBO-Drive II Saw will speed up timber processes, increase accuracy, and reduce waste with the use of computer software technology.
The saw’s optimisation software means that any offcuts it produces are automatically cut into smaller standardised pieces, which can then be used as other functional aspects of modular joist and cassette manufacture.
The biomass boiler will ensure waste timber is used to reheat the facilities, and avoid it being transported to landfill for disposal.
As well as heating the factory and offices, the boiler is also used to dry treated timber in SO Modular’s new in-house treatment tank, helping it to reduce fuel costs and aiding it in its goal to create a sustainable, renewable process for timber frame manufacturing.
The new treatment tank will allow high- and low-pressure treatments, meaning SO Modular will be able to treat not only standard timber but also timbers that require a higher level of treatment such as sole plates.
This makes it far more cost effective than imported pre-treated timber, which SO Modular says will help it to achieve its affordable homes target.
Commenting on the development, Operations director Charlotte Hale said: “We’re very excited to announce the purchasing and acquirement of new machinery, with the help of the IHP Tai Tarian loan.
“These new, efficient machines will go a long will in aiding us to establish a state-of-the-art, sustainable manufacturing facility in Wales.
“Furthermore, this acquirement will allow us to create new jobs in the area and provide even more affordable, low-carbon homes to help the UK meet zero-carbon targets, protect the environment, and address the country’s need for affordable housing.”
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